Explore the collection of the Royal Ontario Museum online

Image courtesy of the Royal Ontario Museum (935.10.1).

Another database to bookmark, especially as it is impossible to travel to Toronto these days anyway. You can browse the collections of the Royal Ontario Museum online here. About 7500 objects from the African continent are listed, among which the above spectacular Efut headdress by Asikpo Edet Okon of Ibonda.

Coincidently the museum also holds a fake Mangbetu vessel made in Cameroon as recently discussed on the blog here. In the description we read

This vessel was produced as a copy of a classic Mangbetu style vessel acquired by the American Museum of Natural History at the beginning of the 20th century. Idrissou Kouotou has been specializing in this type of production since the 1980s. He does not work from photographs but reproduces rather faithfully known examples that he has carefully studied in the past. This vessel was produced in 2010 and aged for two years to give the dark patina. Idrissou Kouotou has his workshop in the Manga II quarter in Foumban right below the Rue des Artisans. He has been selling to an international clientele and to the local gallery owners for decades.

While I assume Kouotou sells his vessels for what they are, once they arrive in the West I’m not so sure its resellers remain that honest. The most fun object in the collection might very well be the below Kuyu kebe-kebe puppet with features of rock legend Elvis Presley. With his nickname “the king”, the maker of this puppet must have deemed him an appropriate inspiration to make this puppet considered kingly!

Image courtesy of the Royal Ontario Museum (2009.126.2).